An article from 2014 in Forbes Magazine, “Why You Need to Support Small Businesses,” points to five reasons to support local businesses:
- You can often find good prices at local stores. In contrast to what many think, stores don’t control pricing, vendors do. This means that a common perception that thrifty shoppers can do better at big box stores and national chains isn’t necessarily a true perception.
- Inventory is not always more easily available at big box stores. Small, local stores shop from the same vendors as big stores and national chains . . . and specialty shops often carry items that big stores don’t. Small, local store proprietors put a lot of energy into building relationships with their customers and are usually very anxious to serve their customers well. If you don’t see something you want, and it comes from a vendor that store uses, the store is often able to contact the vendor and have the item sent out.
- Customer service is more personalized. Contacting a vendor to get an item that is of particular interest is just one way that local proprietors go out of their way to serve their customers.
- Sometimes small businesses offer greater product diversity and more options than nationally-owned chain stores. Certainly they will provide options more suited to their local customers. Small, local business owners often seek out specialty items to distinguish themselves. Since owners have a direct relationship with their customers, living in the same community, they are more likely to pick just the assortment of items that will appeal to their market. A huge assortment doesn’t make for product diversity if the assortment is irrelevant to a community.
- Local businesses are more likely to give back to a community. Most local business give back to their communities not only through local taxes but through monetary and in-kind contributions to local organizations and charities. They are likely to support local initiatives like environmental consciousness or keeping streets safe or clean and beautiful.
It’s doubly wonderful when you can support a local business that supports another local business. This is the case when you purchase Laura Tanner Jewelry at the Green Box Boutique in Woodstock! Centered on the Square in “our town,” the Green Box Boutique represents all of the strong points of local businesses mentioned above: good prices for specialty items you won’t necessarily find at chain stores, great, personalized customer service, and active engagement in community activities and services.
So isn’t it great to find out that the Green Box Boutique also supports localism in its choice of vendors! Laura Tanner Jewelry is based in Evanston, where all the jewelry is not only designed by Laura Tanner Swinand but is handmade by locally employed workers under her direct supervision.
About 8% of Laura’s business is over the internet, but the bulk of her business is in local stores, almost half of them in the Greater Metro Chicago area. We are fortunate to have her jewelry in Woodstock.
Laura began making and selling “funky enamel earrings and safety-pin bracelets” as a 13 year old. After completing a bachelors and a masters degree in art history, she decided to return to what she loved, making jewelry. She is drawn to meditative, tactile work, and appreciates the innate natural beauty and subtle imperfections of gemstones. Her website describes her work as “contemporary” and “timeless.” Others describe her work as simple, delicate, sophisticated, versatile and inventive. The Examiner calls her signature collections “trendy” and “unique,” with “grace” and “femininity.”
The jewelry is created with gemstone beads and pearls and precious metals. The pieces are designed to mix, match and layer. Each piece is handmade from gemstones, silver, gold-fill and gold vermeil metals. The jewelry is moderately priced and is featured in the 15th Annual One-of-a-Kind Show Chicago, December 3-6, 2015, at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, where Laura Tanner Jewelry is one of 600 artisans in the show. The show is designed to provide an opportunity to find unique, one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts. But you don’t have to go even that far since we have it right here in Woodstock!
Even the raw materials come primarily from the U.S. or are purchased from U.S.-based suppliers whenever possible. The packaging supplies are made in the U.S., and publicity materials are printed locally by environmentally friendly printers.
Laura Tanner Jewelry expresses its environmental consciousness by savings all metal scraps and sending them to a supplier for recycling. Paper waste is recycled and food waste composted. Gift boxes and bags are from recycled content. The main supplier of their material is solar powered.
Laura Tanner Jewelry supports charitable organizations involved with assistance to women, children and the disabled and provides in-kind contributions to local raffles, benefits, events and more.
As of March, 2014, there were 28.2 million businesses in the U.S., with three-quarters of them small, local businesses. Only half of them will survive five years or more, but all of them work hard to bring unique contributions to local communities. Do your part to make certain these business remain in our communities. Shop locally — and if you can do that with twice the power, supporting local businesses that support other local businesses that support other local businesses . . . well, why wouldn’t you?